Thursday is Flag Day, marking the date in 1777 when Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes. Some facts about the U.S. flag:
_ President William Taft issued an executive order in 1912 dictating the proportions for the flag and placement of the stars. Before then, these features were left up to the flagmaker, resulting in unusual star arrangements and odd proportions.
_ Betsy Ross, often credited with sewing the nation's first flag, apprenticed not as a seamstress but as an upholsterer, learning to make and repair curtains, bedcovers, tablecloths, rugs, umbrellas and Venetian blinds.
_ Congress officially adopted the Stars and Stripes as the nation's flag on June 14, 1777. The next day, Ross married her second husband, Joseph Ashburn. Her first husband, John Ross, had died during the Revolutionary War, as did Ashburn a few years later. Her third marriage, to John Claypoole, lasted 34 years.
_ The national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," is based on a 15-star, 15-stripe flag sewn by Mary Pickersgill for Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Vermont and Kentucky had recently been added to the original 13 states.
_ The U.S. flag has been modified 26 times since its adoption in 1777. Today's 50-star flag, created in 1960, has been in use the longest.
Sources: Historic Philadelphia and the Smithsonian Institution
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